TIA 2005: Art from Ephemera (Mail Art and the Internet)
Text and Image Arts
School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Fall 2007 - Spring 2009

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

gettin' crafty

We've talked a bit about how a lot of mail art genres have flirted with the fringes of the more mainstream art world but recently, at least, have seemed to find their audience among folks who would be more likely to identify as crafters, not necessarily artists. I think this is particularly true of the short history of Artist Trading Cards. What is the role of craft in the niche genre of ATCs in particular? How do you feel about working with (or on) ATCs in art school, where you're expected to have something of a conceptual framework for just about everything you do?



Omer said...

Well, I don't think that you have to be disciplined and to know how to talk about your art in order to make art.

Art is flexible, and it has changed over the years and the contexts and the geographies. I respect intellectual debates and I'm impressed by people who can take it so seriously and talk about it so much, but it's definitely not my thing.

I feel the pressure to have a really clear conceptual framework to my work here in SMFA and I haven't found a good way to deal with it. Therefore, I like the fact that we're doing something that is a bit borderline and in its essence relates to issues like community, consumerism, alternatives and redefining the terms and the borders or art.

I see "art" as a term that is derived from culture . Each culture define its own art. Moreover, I see the term "artist" as a self-reclaimed title. I can't say if someone is an artist or not, and I don't care that much.
I hardly call what I do "art" and I don't identify as an artist, because I don't feel that I want to take part in this specific world. I do want to create, and what I like to see is stuff that move me and touch me. I don't care so much if it was an appropriate form of art or not.

Just my two cents.

MarynLeigh said...

Personally, I think the main difference between craft and art is the works meaning to the artist. To make something beautiful, to sell as a consumer product for me is more craft. Making art, even ATCs, an artist chooses to make it personal, and reflect some issue he/she is trying to deal with in their work. I definitely think, especially at SMFA, I am expected to have a conceptual framework surrounding my artwork - to give it more meaning, as well as a place in society for people to relate to and interact with the work by connecting to the framework. As an artist, I feel it is necessary to connect with the work you are making, and that somehow that work will connect the artist to others, as well as to one another; continuing to fuel the concepts of communication and networking, esp. in a global society.

ROXY said...

I think that as artists it is important that we embrace what is beautiful and effective about craft. While there is certainly a distinction between the two creative practices, I don’t think that that distinction is always clear in a body of work. Further, as artists we should be able to adopt elements of craft that we find meaningful. Just because something doesn’t have a clear conceptual message behind it does not mean it is entirely empty. A craftsman’s love and dedication to their creative practice is something that should be valued not dismissed. We should not be afraid to enter the world of craft in order to further our art. While I value the intellectual message in my work and find it more or less impossible to make a body of work that does not have a concept of some sort behind it, I find that exploring traditionally craft mediums and techniques often opens my mind to new ways of conveying my message. To avoid craft is to completely cut off oneself from potential inspiration and technique. For me, making artists trading cards is not an exercise in craft, but a set of rules around which to devise a concept and create a project.

Unknown said...

Other than size, working on ATCs to me is really no different than working on a larger scale work. I approach them the same as I would any of my other work. While I understand the need to have concepts behind work created (and do so in my own work), I realize this is art school, but I still feel sometimes the conceptual framework is focused on too much. It is important for an artist to just do work. The ideas behind what they are doing may not always be apparent to them before they start creating, but after purging the work, they can then reflect on what they've created. Sometimes I just want to paint something because I like it and the viewer can read whatever they want to into it. That is the beauty of art.

Max said...

For me, when working on Artist Trading Cards I approach it the way I do all my work, which is that I try to keep it consistent with work that I plan on producing. So I would say that my Artist Trading Cards have a conceptual feel towards them. Though I do understand that it is important to "just make work" and forget about the meaning behind every single thing. But every work has meaningful undertone, even if its not deliberately up front. But its very apparent here at SMFA that we are pushed to be able to back up and talk about the art we make to every detail, which sometimes is rather frustrating.